I wanted to start a series of posts on programming the Circuit synth, so here's a start. Hope it's useful.
The synth in the Circuit is based on Novation's Nova engine as used in the Mini and Ultra Nova synths. The manuals for either of these can be used to understand the Cicuit's own synth engine.
Two oscillators are available in the Circuit, two LFOs, a filter plus envelopes for both the amplitude and filter. In addition to these is a comprehensive Modulation Matrix that allows some of the elements of these functions to modulate other functions.
For this first part we are just going to concentrate on the Oscillator and Filter functions.
When a patch on the Circuit is initialized, the Oscillators are both set to sawtooth waveforms with Oscillator 2 set to 0, so it doesn't actually make any sound. What you hear is just Oscillator 1 running as a sawtooth with no parameters set. The screenshot shows the default settings for the Oscillators and the Filters. Ignore the LFO part for now, we'll deal with that in another part.
For this exercise, we'll create a simple Sawtooth Bass so first bring up the level of Osc 2 in the mixer to 127. It still doesn't sound up to much really, so in the Oscillators section, select Oscillator 2 and turn the Semi-tones dial to -12. Already we hear the sound become deeper, tho' still not much of a bass.
The next function to look at is the Filter. What this does is filter out some of the frequencies of the Oscillators. Move the filter Frequency setting to about half (63) and notice that the sound loses some of it's harshness, and almost becomes an organ sound. Now slowly move the resonance up from 0 and notice how the sounds becomes brighter as it increases. Set it to about halfway again.
At this point the Filter is fairly static so add a bit of movement by moving the Filter Envelope Attack to about 25-30. Now the sounds starts to get a bit squelchy but still doesn't sound very bassy. However, this is easily fixed, either on the Circuit itself by pressing the Octave down button, or by setting the Voice Keyboard Octave down in the Voice Controls Section.
Now adjust the Frequency and/or resonance to hear how the sound can change. Both of these operations can be assigned to a Macro button so can be automatic within a pattern.
The following screenshot is how the Oscillators and Filter section now look. For not a lot of adjustment, there's quite a change in the sound and we have no where near touched the surface of what this is capable of!
Stay tuned for Part 2:-)
Circuit Tricks and Tips
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